True wilderness is where you keep it, and real wilderness experience cannot be a sedentary one; you have to seek it out not seated, but afoot.
I had the excellent essay collection A Mile in Her Boots: Women who Work in the Wild (edited by Jennifer Bové) on my wish list for a while and got it as a holiday gift. I'd previously read (and reviewed here) her other collection Wild With Child: Adventures of Families in the Great Outdoors.
We'd talked about going camping, perhaps even winter tent camping, over the holiday break, but I didn't manage to get around to pinning down a place to go until Friday the 28th. I had some doubts about the winter preparedness of Top Kid, his sleeping bag filling has gotten flat with repeated washings and the thermal underwear fit situation was dubious. NY State parks don't have tent camping year-round, so our choice was hike-in in DEC areas in the Catskills or look elsewhere. We didn't want an expensive or fancy cabin, we wanted rustic if not tent.
The winter issue of the Parks Department's Outdoors in New York City activities and events guide is now available. (Click the link to download the PDF.) From Winter Photography to Emergency Preparedness, the Urban Park Rangers have a wide range of interesting, family-friendly, and fun programs—and they're all FREE!
There's a useful post over at the blog "A Little Campy," on things that aren't "essential" in terms of camping gear, but that are almost essential for camping with kids. Top 5 Non-Essential Camping Essentials For Kids. Every one of these items is a must-have in my experience, except perhaps the checkers or playing cards.
It's that best-of roundup time of year, all right. Here's another one that's interesting. The Top 10 Apps for Taking Technology Outdoors list comes from National Environmental Education Week, but I couldn't actually find it on their site (I got it in their email newsletter), so I'm linking it via Mother Earth News.
More good stuff from Kaboom! which has a blog article up suggesting that active, outdoor play can actually increase kids' life expectancy, linked to a cute video about what kids think they would do with the extra time.
We happen to live near the highest point in Brooklyn and were virtually untouched by Hurricane Sandy. A couple of trees came down nearby, and of course no school all week. Top Kid and Tree Kid's grandparents weren't so lucky and are without power indefinitely out on Long Island. We gave them our propane stove and a couple of battery-powered lanterns to help tide them over. Of course we have them as camping equipment, not as survivalist gear, but it's always nice to be prepared.
The excellent blog A Little Campy has a nice guest post by Lacy Bishop on going camping at the last minute—it can be done! Go read it here.